×

Cannes: Dionne Warwick Movie Causes Casting Scandal For Lady Gaga

On Friday morning, at the Cannes Film Festival, Dionne Warwick appeared before a room of journalists to announce her new biopic “Dionne.” She proudly revealed that LeToya Luckett (one of the original members of Destiny’s Child) would be playing her, and that Lady Gaga would be portraying the late singer Cilla Black. Warwick went on to describe the character as “her nemesis.” “She stole my songs,” Warwick said of Black. “I was not a very happy camper about that.”

She’s not the only one. A few hours later, Lady Gaga’s publicist issued a statement, saying that the “Born This Way Singer” was not attached to the movie and would not be taking the role. According to a source, Gaga wasn’t even aware of the film.

The (fake) news of Gaga’s attachment to the film made international headlines. When Warwick presented the project, she stood in front a poster with Gaga’s name on it, and later Rogers & Cowan issued a press release that included Gaga in the cast.

So what happened? Before the days of the Internet, smaller film productions would come to Cannes all the time, and pretend that big stars were attached to their film to fan sales. But technology doesn’t allow you to do that anymore. (Rogers & Cowan didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. )

Here’s what else was announced at Friday’s press conference. Danny Glover will portray Warwick’s father, Mansel Warwick. Olympia Dukakis will co-star as German songstress and actress Marlene Dietrich, who mentored Warwick. The film, which begins shooting in October, will span the early days of Warwick’s career from 1962 to 1968, as she belted out would-be classics like “Alfie” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” Warwick added that Mario Van Peebles was in talks to direct, but hadn’t officially signed on yet.

AMBI Pictures and David F. Wooley’s WW Film Company are financing the movie. Producers are Andrea Iervolino, Monika Bacardi, Wooley and Jacker Binder.

Wooley revealed that he’s already spent 10 years getting the story to the big screen. After early scripts stalled, he realized that he needed a book to adapt the movie from, and co-authored “My Life, As I See It: An Autobiography” with Warwick. Then the movie was back on track, with Randall Jahnson (“The Doors”) writing the latest screenplay with Wooley.

In 2013, Warwick made headlines when she declared bankruptcy with $10 million in tax debt. When asked if the project would help with her finances, Warwick declined to comment.

AMBI Distribution is handling global sales.

Note: This story has been updated to reflect that Lady Gaga is not starring in the film. 

 

More Film

  • Don Edkins, documentary filmmaker

    Documentary Filmmaker Don Edkins on ‘Creating an African Voice’ 

    DURBAN–For the 10th Durban FilmMart (DFM), the industry program of the Durban Intl. Film Festival, a new strand was created to look at the unique challenges and opportunities facing documentary filmmakers in Africa. The two-day program, Durban Does Docs, offers a series of conversations, seminars and workshops with an intensive focus on the aesthetics, funding, distribution [...]

  • A Faithful Man

    Film Review: 'A Faithful Man'

    French actor Louis Garrel has been married twice, first to Iranian talent Golshifteh Farahani, and now to model-cum-actress Laetitia Casta. He has also directed two features, the first a free-wheeling love-triangle comedy called “Two Friends” in which Garrel plays the cad who comes between his best friend and the object of his obsession (played by [...]

  • LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With

    LGBTQ Film Festival Outfest Opens With Documentary About Gay Porn Shops Circus of Books

    Granted, the red carpet at the opening night of Outfest in DTLA may not have been the most star-studded but it was without a doubt the most diverse, inclusive and, yes, fabulous. “I’ve never been here before,” admitted “RuPaul’s Drag Race” vet Trixie Mattel, who stars in the documentary “Moving Parts.” “It’s supposed to be [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Russ Tamblyn's Career Had Legs After Childhood

    With an acting career that spans work for Cecil B. DeMille and Joseph Losey to Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch, Russ Tamblyn’s creativity and longevity is proof that there’s life after child stardom. In Tamblyn’s case, there’s also been a bounty of juicy film and TV roles long after his legendary legs no longer kicked [...]

  • Olivia Wilde Booksmart Director

    Film News Roundup: Olivia Wilde to Direct Holiday Comedy for Universal

    In today’s film news roundup, Olivia Wilde has landed another directing gig following “Booksmart” and revenge thriller “Seaside” and “Woodstock: The Directors Cut” get August release dates. PROJECT LAUNCH Olivia Wilde will direct and produce an untitled holiday comedy project for Universal Pictures with her “Booksmart” partner Katie Silberman. Universal outbid five other studios for [...]

  • Choas Charles Mansion and the CIA

    Amazon Studios Takes Film Rights to Manson-Centered Drama 'Chaos' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Just in time for the 50th anniversary of the grisly murders executed by the followers of Charles Manson, Amazon Studios has optioned film rights to a nonfiction title about a journalist who spent decades obsessively following the case. The studio will adapt “Chaos: Charles Manson, the CIA, and the Secret History of the Sixties,” from [...]

  • Sword of Trust

    Marc Maron on 'Sword of Trust,' Lynn Shelton and Conspiracy Theories

    Marc Maron has interviewed everyone from Bruce Springsteen to President Obama, so he’s probably learned a few things about being a good interview. Of course, as he points out, he generally has over an hour to talk leisurely speak with his guests in his home and draw out stories beyond the public narrative; it’s a [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content